A court in London has refused to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States.
Even though the trial has finally ended, this decision is unlikely to be final — it was initially clear that whichever side won the process, the other would appeal.
Assange’s lawyers have always said that this trial is only the beginning of the path in the case of Assange’s extradition. Both sides can reach the British Supreme Court or the European Court of Human Rights to decide what they need.
As the court considered, being in an American prison now, when intelligence officials are hostile to Assange, can worsen his condition.
Assange’s defense has previously subpoenaed psychiatric experts who recorded a high risk of suicide, diagnosed the WikiLeaks founder with depressive disorder and autism.
Throughout the history of the extradition procedure, the United Kingdom has repeatedly refused to expel a person to the United States if a violation of human rights could accompany his extradition.
One of the most famous examples is the Scottish hacker Gary McKinnon, who broke into the computers of several American departments at once. He explained his action by the fact that he was looking for information about the existence of UFOs.
In the United States, he was waiting for prison. Still, the British authorities blocked Scot’s extradition based on psychiatric diagnoses-McKinnon was found to have depression and Asperger’s syndrome. It was precise because extradition could provoke a suicide attempt that Scot’s expulsion was found to be contrary to human rights.
The court decision does not mean that Assange’s guilt is not proven. The London court was not responsible for this issue: if the extradition still takes place, Assange is guilty or innocent of the crimes he is accused of; a court in the United States will decide it.
For lawyers representing American interests in London, it was enough for the judge to have reasonable suspicions that the WikiLeaks founder might actually have committed the crimes he is accused of.
Despite the court’s decision, Assange will remain in custody until the US side files an appeal.